♥ Growing Old Alone: The Story of V ♥

I met her six years ago. She was a mid-fifty clerk in the office I was working for. She was the first person who talked to me when I was only a new employee. She was nice to me. Let’s call her V, a recovering stroke patient, and this is the story I know about her.

V is from the southern parts of the country. She relocated in the city when she was just in her twenties, for greener pastures, supposedly. The city did not disappoint the young and vibrant V. She got a permanent job in a fairly stable company. She spent her prime years working for the company she loved and for the relatives she cared for. She made a name for herself in the work she knew and handled so well.

Years passed by as quickly as the sun goes down. She never left the company which first believed in her. She repaid the company who gave her the opportunity with hard work and loyalty. She forged friendships with her colleagues too. V’s life was better than okay, especially financially since she had no immediate families, no more parents, no siblings, no family of her own.  Single-blessedness enabled her to help her relatives in the province, proving that V has a good heart. She used up her youth earning money and helping her relatives.

Several years after, V was no longer the once energetic and perfectly healthy young lady. She gained an enormous pound. All the stress, unhealthy lifestyle and maybe some bad genes got into her. She eventually suffered a stroke and that’s when V’s life took a rough turn. She deteriorated both mentally and physically. After her hospitalization, she was offered an early retirement by her company which she grabbed. She decided to resettle in her province with the relatives she once supported. They welcomed her in their home, or so she thought.

All her savings were eventually withdrawn. All her investments were terminated too. Everything she owned was gone and when she was close to being penniless, her relatives abandoned her. Fortunately for her, some of her friends and colleagues heed her call. They went to her in the province. They found V in an old and tiny nipa hut with nothing but a cane. They brought her back in the city. The company re-hired her. They helped her stand up on her own again. And, she did.

Only, V was never the same person again. She never fully recovered from her illness. She never changed her unhealthy ways either. Even her generosity to her relatives remained the same. Who knows what was really going on in V’s mind, and heart? Years started to count again, she was hospitalized for two more occasions. She was lucky to have survived and be covered by an HMO. She looked indifferent to her surroundings but deep inside she was suffering more than anyone would know. The third time she was admitted in a hospital, however, was a different story.

V was no longer fit to work after staying in the hospital for almost two weeks, in a Holiday season, no less. The doctor told her that her heart has a blocked vein and that a third heart attack could be fatal at her condition. She needed time to rest well. She could no longer perform any strenuous activities, including daily commute to and from work. Her colleagues never appreciated how kind or gullible she was when it comes to her relatives in the province. Who would not get tired from helping someone who does not know how to listen to reasons and pieces of advice? They told her it was not so bad living in “golden shelters”, an idea she quickly dismissed.

She showed up in the office one day and in less than thirty minutes; wrote her resignation letter, collected her personal belongings and bid everyone goodbye. And, that’s it. That’s the last time I saw her. The last thing I heard, she’ll be going to her relatives in the province, again.

You may wonder why I share to you V’s story. It’s not very inspiring, you may think. And yes, I agree. How about lessons? Does V’s story teach us a lesson? I believe that everyone’s life story has a lesson or two, so, yes, V’s story definitely has lessons to offer. But, what are those lessons? Well, my friends, it’s up to you to draw them yourselves. Because there’s nothing concrete I could offer you. All I can give you are some points to ponder.

Is it a mistake to be generous to others and leave no security for yourself? Will we ever be secured in this lifetime? Was V wrong in not prioritizing (so it seems) investing with the right people, say, her colleagues in the office? But, are we supposed to invest in relationships or friendships with a hidden hope that they’ll take care of us in our time of need? Was she mistaken for not pursuing a family of her own? But, having a family is not a guarantee that you won’t be alone. Was she wrong in giving everything she had? Did she lack sound retirement plans? Was she too close-minded when it comes to home for the elders? Was it her karma for not taking care of her body? Some healthy living people still develop serious illnesses while some smokers live up to eighty. Does V lack faith? Who are we to judge someone’s personal relationship with God. Remember, the toughest battles are given to God’s strongest soldiers.

I urge everyone who reads this to reflect on V’s story and let her story be a lesson that will fit your current situation. Also, please pray for her, and all the Vs in the world, that they may find favor in God, today and always.

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